WEC Energy Group plans to demonstrate up to 25% blending of hydrogen with natural gas for power generation.
The company, one of the first in North America to test hydrogen blending as a fuel source, has indicated the initiative will take place at one of its Michigan Upper Peninsula power plants.
Upper Michigan Energy Resources, a WEC Energy Group subsidiary, has two natural gas-powered stations. The 128.1MW F.D. Kuester plant with seven units in Negaunee Township near Marquette and to the northwest the 54.9MW A. J. Mihm plant with three units in Baraga Township near L’Anse.
The two plants, which came into operation in 2019, are similar with both utilising the reciprocating internal combustion engine (RICE) technology.
“We’re pleased to take a leading role in testing hydrogen in our modern natural gas-fueled generation units,” said Gale Klappa, executive chairman.
“As we bring more renewable energy online, we must ensure that we can keep the lights on when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The potential of adding hydrogen as a clean generating fuel to our fleet of dispatchable plants is an important step as we bridge to a bright, sustainable future.”
WEC Energy Group is partnering on the project with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), which will lead its technical implementation and share the results with the wider energy industry on the use hydrogen for power generation to support carbon emissions reduction.
WEC Energy Group has set environmental targets including net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by 2050 and net-zero methane emissions from natural gas distribution by the end of 2030.
This pilot is expected to help create another viable option for decarbonising the economy.